So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Bay Minette AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you set about picking the right school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most potential students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are other significant qualifiers also. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Bay Minette AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment plus routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are also required to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Bay Minette AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many approve other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Bay Minette AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is usually provided in Bay Minette AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally cheaper than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just confirm that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
After you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Bay Minette AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Bay Minette AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the xray tech programs you are assessing have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Bay Minette AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Bay Minette AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Bay Minette AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Bay Minette AL colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Bay Minette AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Bay Minette X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the ideal x-ray technician degree program is an important first step toward starting a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the right training and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Bay Minette Alabama.